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5 cannibal stories you won’t believe

Meat cleavers
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Armin Meiwes

Born in the German town of Kassel, computer technician Meiwes led a very lonely childhood. His father was a stern man who was largely disinterested in his son. When the marriage broke up, when Meiwes was only eight, he abandoned the family, never to contact them again. He later told the court during the murder trial that Meiwes had been a well-behaved little boy but had been obsessed with the story of Hansel and Gretel, in particular the chapter about fattening up Hansel to cook and eat him.

In 2000 Meiwes posted a message saying, “I am looking for a young, well-built man aged 18 to 30 to slaughter”. Several men responded, one of which was a man called Borg Jose who was about to become Meiwes' first victim. While laid out on his table preparing to be butchered, Jose complained of feeling ill and asked to be released, which Meiwes obliged. The final man to reply to Meiwes' internet message was Bernd-Jürgen Brandes. Brandes was a 43-year-old bisexual engineer, who wrote to Meiwes on 14 February 2001 saying that he would agree to be eaten. They exchanged various lurid emails, discussing the best way in which he should be eaten and his body used afterwards. Brandes even suggested his skull could be used as an ashtray. On 9 March 2001, Brandes went to Meiwes' home in Amstetten and after having sex, Brandes swallowed numerous sleeping pills, a bottle of Vicks cough medicine and some schnapps before Meiwes amputated his penis for the pair to eat together.

Brandes tried to eat a piece of the penis raw but it was apparently too “chewy” and so Meiwes proceeded to fry it with a little garlic and pepper but burned it, meaning that neither of them was able to consume the dismembered part. Losing large amounts of blood from the injury, Brandes lay bleeding to death in the bath over the next three hours, while Meiwes read a Star Trek book. Ten hours later, Brandes was still alive, so Meiwes stabbed him several times in the neck to put an end to his pain, and his life. Meiwes woud later explain: “My friend enjoyed dying, death. I only waited horrified for the end after doing the deed. It took so terribly long.” Meiwes hung Brandes' lifeless body on a meat-hook and proceeded to cut the flesh into sizeable chunks and grind the bones into flour. He dismembered the entire body so that he could store the parts in his freezer, which he proceeded to eat over the following 10 months. The entire process of Brandes' penis amputation and subsequent death had been recorded on videotape by the pair and would later be used as evidence against Meiwes. In 2004, Meiwes was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 8 and a half years in prison however, in 2006 there was a retrial for the crime. This had resulted in his initial sentence being changed to life imprisonment.

Convicted cannibal Armin Meiwes
Image Credit: Associated Press / Alamy Stock Photo | Above: Armin Meiwes, who was convicted of killing and eating another man, waits for the verdict in his retrial at a regional court in Frankfurt, central Germany on Tuesday 9th May 2006

David Playpenz

David Playpenz from Colchester, Essex fell victim to a motorbike accident which resulted in him severely hurting his hand. Playpenz went to see the doctor after one of his fingers turned black, after being told that his finger would need to be amputated David asked if he could take his finger home as a souvenir to which the doctors agreed. It was then that David had made plans to consume his own finger as he admitted he was fascinated with the concept of cannibalism.

In an interview, he had stated that he understood cannibalism was illegal, however no one could prosecute him for eating his own flesh. David had waited a few days in order to recover from his operation, before boiling his finger. According to a tell all magazine he wanted to keep the bone with minimal damage, he also refused to have it with sauce, salt or pepper or a drink as he wanted to know what the actual flavour of the meat. Despite eating his own flesh, David insists that he is not a cannibal- this was just a one- time- experience. Playpenz documented his experience on facebook for others to engage.

Mao Sugiyama

Sugiyama described himself as A- Sexual and had his genitals removed at 22, froze and stored them in a plastic bag. Mao had then tweeted an invitation for people to eat his genitalia as a meal for 100,000 yen, assuring possible customers that they will be cooked and prepared to the buyer’s requests. Although the location was heavily populated, Sugiyama had 5 people take him up on his offer under the condition that they sign a legal document releasing Sugiyama and the other event organisers from any liability.

Once all documents were signed, Sugiyama had prepared his delicacies with button mushrooms and Italian parsley. Sugiyama stated that the dinner was used in order to raise awareness about sexual minorities, x gender and asexuality. Despite the “deeper meaning” of this act, Sugiyama event was considered to be indecent exposure that was investigated by police. Mao insisted he’d done nothing wrong as the act of cannibalism isn’t illegal, and the people who partook in his meal new exactly what they were getting into. In February 2013 the case against Sugiyama was dropped.

David Viens was an accomplished chef and business man. Married to Dawn, the two worked in the same restaurant as he cooked and she waited the tables. Dawn went missing in Autumn 2009. According to David, Dawn went missing after they had an argument which resulted in her leaving with nothing but her LV bag. Once Dawn had disappeared, Viens had contacted his daughter Jackie to help him at the restaurant. After initial questioning from Jackie on her mother’s disappearance, Viens admitted that he had killed Dawn, and asked Jackie for help in covering it up which she reluctantly done.

It wasn’t until February 2011, where the homicide department tried to turn up the heat on David in order to shed some light to the disappearance of Dawn Viens. With new evidence of blood found in the two’s apartment, this quickly gained the interest of the press and gave the police a reason to talk to Jackie where she had admitted that she had helped send messages on behalf of her mother in order to protect her father. Jackie had then called David to tell him that she had told the police that he killed Dawn. This had pushed for David to tell his girlfriend Kathy everything and had resulted in him running to the car saying he was going to kill himself. Kathy had chased after him and got in the car where he sped off and drove to a cliff before apologizing to Kathy and jumping off. Despite jumping off an 80-foot cliff, he had survived. When in hospital, David had admitted to the police where he stated “for some reason I just got mad” and “something happened”. David was then arrested for the murder of Dawn Viens. He had also spoken to Detective Garcia where he had told the police that he had boiled his wife for 4 days in order to discard any evidence.

This could explain why there was never a body found. However, David had retracted his statement and simply stated that he put the body in a rubbish bag to be sent off in a garbage trunk. Viens was convicted of second degree murder. 6 months after his conviction, Viens appeared in court representing himself where he had stated that he loved his wife and didn’t cook his wife. Despite this, Viens was sentenced to 15 years to life in a state prison. Not exactly cannibalism but considering Viens had allegedly cooked his wife, this deserves a spot on the list.

Luka Magnotta

Born Eric Clinton Newman, Luka Magnotta was found guilty of 1st- degree murder of international student Jun Lin. Magotta’s dream was to be famous, and he would get this by any means necessary. This resulted in him being in a handful of adult films, numerous failed reality TV show auditions as well as a number of disturbing rumours that were circulating online- one of which that he was in a relationship with Karla Homolka. Athough contacting the press personally in order to rid these allegations, ex- lover “Barbie” had stated in an interview that Magnotta started these rumours himself in order to get attention.

Magnotta had his five minutes of fame but wanted more, and began finding darker ways to get people’s attention. After watching disturbing videos in what could be described as the dark side of the internet, Magnotta began making disturbing videos involving kittens where he tortured and killed them. This gained the attention of an animal rights group online who dedicated their time to expose and stop him before events escalated. Despite their best efforts, Magnotta had created more videos of him killing kittens and eventually made his final video. The video posted May 25th 2012 a video was posted online, showing the brutal murder of student Jun Lin.

Magnotta had killed Lin, stabbed him repeatedly with an ice pick before dismembering the body with a knife and having intercourse with the corpse in Montreal. Parts of Lin’s body were found in a bin, as well as in packages sent to political parties and schools. By the time police had arrived at Magnotta’s apartment, he already fled to Paris before going to Berlin where he was finally arrested. Although not confirmed, the video of the killing had suggested cannibalism due to the dismembering of Lin’s body as well as there being blood stains inside Magnotta’s fridge. Magnotta was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole until he had served a minimum of 25 years.